Red Cross helping family displaced by house fire

Dec. 22, 2012 @ 04:59 AM

A kerosene heater accident Friday has left one Sanford family temporarily without a home this holiday season.

The family of three, who requested not to be named, are in the care of Lee County Red Cross until their home is habitable once more, said local Red Cross director Michelle Bullard.

A fire was reported at the family's home at 515 Bracken St. around lunchtime Friday. Bullard, as well as Sanford Fire Department officials, confirmed that the family's home didn't sustain much structural damage, but did incur significant smoke damage, forcing the family to seek temporary shelter through the Red Cross.

The blaze reportedly began when a kerosene heater caused a nearby pile of clothes to catch fire, which Bullard said should serve as a reminder to the community to never rely on a kerosene heater if it can be avoided.

She said fires in Lee County fortunately have been rare recently, and as of Friday, her group was only caring for this one family.

Bullard suggested several basic safety tips, led off by kitchen precautions.

She said turning the stove on simply to heat a house is "a huge no-no" and that when it's being used for cooking, someone should be monitoring the stove at all times.

"If you're cooking on the stove for the holidays, and you have to leave for any reason, turn the burners off and then resume cooking whenever you come back home," she said.